Barbecue restaurants are a Kansas City tradition. Our recent road trip tour of several Kansas City style barbecue restaurants was an opportunity to indulge our love of good blues music, and check out authentic atmosphere and recipes. Here’s our first stop:
Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue – Billing itself as a local Kansas City tradition dating back to the 1920’s, this was our first stop early Sunday afternoon. Arthur’s has three barbecue restaurants in Kansas City. The original location on 17th and Brooklyn Avenue is close to the historic 18th and Vine jazz and blues district. Lots of gritty atmosphere in this neighborhood. Filled with photos of the famous faces who’ve visited Arthur’s over the years, the place appeared to have the “authentic” vibe we were seeking.
We had high hopes for the rib tips special, but as we moved through the line, there were a couple of awkward moments. The most notable of these was ordering a Budweiser off the tap. The cashier was sufficiently distracted to confirm the order twice, but still poured me a mug of Boulevard. It must’ve been what I should have ordered, I guess.
Digging in to our rib tips, I was disappointed. The meat was tough and dry. I slathered more and more of Arthur’s Sweet Heat barbecue sauce on to make things edible. Fries were okay and this was my first introduction of barbecue being served on a slice of white bread, Kansas City style. Glancing around the dining area, things were pretty grimy. A heating vent next to my chair seemed as though it hadn’t seen a cleaning rag within the present decade. We later agreed Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue was resting on its previous laurels that day. If we’d gone nowhere else during our tour of barbecue restaurants, though, we’d have said this place was okay.
Overall Rating: Meh
Feel free to leave your recommendation in the comments; more to come in the remainder of this series!